General Motors Redevelopment, Sleepy Hollow

Redevelopment of the General Motors property in Sleepy Hollow (North Tarrytown) is about to begin, twenty years after the factory closed and was subsequently demolished. Nearly 1,200 residential units, a hotel, and retail space will be constructed on 67 acres of the 96-acre site, to be rechristened “Edge-on-Hudson.” To be covered up will be all traces of the vast automotive factory known simply to locals as “the G. M. site.” Entrepreneur John Brisben Walker constructed one of the earliest factories for the production of steam cars here in 1899 and, over the years, the site was expanded through landfill and new construction. The concrete pad that remains visible dates to GM’s last expansion in the mid-20th century. I sent some current photos of the site to my uncle, Arthur See, who worked there, and he had this to say:

“As you moved to the final assembly area which at that time was the “Chevrolet” side, the pits you photographed were the outline of a “flat topconveyor which was used in the final assembly. The wide end was where the drive for the system was located.
I was part of the team which laid out and designed the actual pits which you captured.”

My uncle also told me that before worked at G.M. his father was a test driver for the Maxwell-Briscoe company, one of the early entities that built cars at the North Tarrytown factory. I found a newspaper article which references his father driving Governor Smith’s Maxwell from New York to Jacksonville, FL, in 1911!

How about that! I knew that my uncle worked there, but I did not realize how much of a hand he played in re-building the site, and that evidence of his work can still be seen today, and that our family’s connection went back to the early days of automotive history! Oh, and my uncle also met and married my Aunt Patricia (my dad’s sister) while they both worked at General Motors. Funny how this connection has come around to a site that I photographed.

One of Tom Rinaldi’s photographs of the G.M. factory demolition will appear in our upcoming photography exhibit at the New York State Museum, which opens next weekend!

More Information:
Hudson Valley Ruins by Tom Rinaldi

Edge On Hudson Groundbreaking

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7 Responses to General Motors Redevelopment, Sleepy Hollow

  1. Fred Rieck says:

    Rob – that is so cool You got to be”glowing” … steam era and an Amos ‘n’ Andy Maxwell

    Fred

  2. Rebecca elise says:

    Great post Rob. I have memories of the remnants of this place, walking thru it many years back. From parking at Kingsland Point Park or just general biking the area. I used to be so amazed at the remnants. Wow so brand new residential units will completely cover the old site. Makes me a bit sad. I really enjoyed this post.

  3. Kathy Yasinsac says:

    Wonderful pictures that tell a great story of what was part of Sleepy Hollow for so many gone by years (and also with views of the new Tappan Zee Bridge in the background). Guess progress cannot be stopped. Look forward to seeing Tom and his photography in Albany.

  4. Rob, awesome work! You have a talent for capturing the feeling of that bygone era in your photographs. And when your own family history runs so deeply in the old GM plant, that just enhances the meaning so much more. I’ve stood in factory where my Grandfather hand-crafted turbines (for hydroelectric plants) in the 1920s through the 1950s. Even though he died long before I was born, I could feel his presence in that factory, where nothing had changed from the days he toiled there. I’m sure you had some moments similar to mine as you stood on the grounds of the old GM plant. Very cool!

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